Obama Revives Kennedy-Era Excitement for Democrats Mikva, Minow

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The lives of Abner Mikva and Newton Minow have been intertwined since 1942, when they were 16 and competed for the editorship of their Milwaukee high-school newspaper. Now 82, they are still working together, energized by their latest passion: Barack Obama.

``It's the first candidate I've been excited about since Kennedy,'' Minow says, turning to Mikva. ``What about you?'' ``Same here,'' says Mikva, patting his friend's hand. Over the past 50 years, the two men sitting in Minow's Chicago office have dominated the city's political and legal scene. Mikva was a state legislator and U.S. congressman before serving as a federal judge and counsel to President Bill Clinton. Minow was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under John F. Kennedy and a Democratic activist stretching back to 1950s Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.

The two men have known Illinois Senator Obama, the 46- year-old presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for more than two decades, and don't pretend to be objective about him. Mikva has manned phone banks, sits on his finance committee and has gone door-to-door campaigning in three states. Minow's children and grandchildren are involved with the campaign; great-nephew Adam Frankel is an Obama speechwriter.

For both, their first contact with Obama came while he was a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s.

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